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Shanghai Cooperation Organization to meet in Dushanbe


Shanghai Cooperation Organization to meet in Dushanbe

Photo: Ria Novosti/Reuters

The foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will meet today in Dushanbe, Tajikistan to discuss the security situation in Afghanistan.

Led by China and Russia, the SCO is a regional political and security alliance. Its active members also include India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. With 90% of American forces having left Afghanistan as of July 6th, the Taliban has swept across wide swaths of territory to seize control over both provinces and border crossings with Tajikistan and Pakistan.

As Afghanistan’s stability continues to deteriorate following the American withdrawal, expect the SCO member-states to stress the urgency of addressing the resurgent Taliban in today’s meeting. In the short-term, in the absence of an American security guarantee, the SCO powers will be increasingly inclined to be more proactive in Afghanistan to prevent an extremist takeover that could spillover into their borders. This will likely materialize in the form of coordinated efforts to preserve Afghanistan’s critical transportation and energy infrastructure while pumping funds into localized socioeconomic development programs to stabilize the weakened national government. Both China and Russia are likely to remain heavily involved as each has the incentive to cement themselves as regional powers in Central Asia in the long-term.

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